Alternatively referred to as a universal port replicator, a docking station is a hardware device that allows portable computers to connect with other devices with little or no effort. Docking stations enable users with a laptop computer to convert it into a desktop computer when at the office or at home.
For example, a user could use their laptop on the road, and then back at the office they could connect the laptop to the docking station to use their monitor, speakers, and office printer. The picture to the right is an example of a Dell docking station. This particular docking station enables the laptop to be directly connected to the docking station without the need of using any additional cables. Keep in mind that all docking stations are different.
- Dock - Term used to describe the process of connecting a portable computer to a docking station.
- Undock (cold dock) - Term used to describe the process of disconnecting a portable computer from a docking station after it has been shut down.